We often think of glue as the object that holds other objects together. If something is broken, one might look for super glue. When building something, one reaches for wood glue. Other projects require other types of glue. Every year of elementary school, glue was on our kids supply list.
Glue is a powerful substance!
Did you know that glue is one of the substances that holds your church together? We would agree that prayer is the foundational glue. Beyond this spiritual formation practices, God has required some glue components for our churches. It is the PASTE that ensures we follow God’s plan.
Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”
I have several thoughts about these two verses, but I will to the point of this particular post. God has established a balance for church leadership in Ephesians 4 that we should strive to carry out in our local churches.
I will make two bold statements here. Every member of the leadership team that provides spiritual oversight to the church should know his primary PASTE function. All five functions should be represented on your church’s leadership team. If not, your church will have a difficult time equipping the saints for ministry and building up the body of Christ.
If your church seems out of balance, it could be your church’s leadership team is out of balance.
Here is the PASTE:
The prophet is the one who is known to proclaim the messages of God with boldness. This man has a great deal of love for his church, but the love level is often misinterpreted or misunderstood because of his courageous ability to speak what needs to be said. This man is essential to have on your leadership team because he often speaks what others are thinking. He also does his best to make sure the church continues to move forward. Of the five ingredients of PASTE, I have this one more than the others.
The apostle is the one who often tries to begin something new. His creativity and brainstorming is useful because he helps his church stay current in its practice. The apostle can be quick to throw away the outdated practices of the church for something fresh and new. Some congregations can become frustrated with the apostle function because he is better at launching programs, but weaker at following through and finishing well. For those who do not understand this man, one could view him as leaving a mess for others to clean up. The others on the leadership team need to affirm that man’s ideas but remind him to slow down and make realistic goals.
The shepherd is the one who keeps the apostle in check because he wants to make sure everybody has bought into a change before it is implemented. This person takes the time to listen and gauge the temperature of the congregation. He takes the necessary time to make sure the congregation fully understands the future plans of the church. He can be slow to action and is often pushed by the apostle and evangelist.
The teacher is the one who accurately and clearly communicates the Word of God with grace and truth. He is also the one who communicates the vision and goals of the church. The teacher is often the one who studies and researches the most. The teacher is often the one who seeks to learn new things. The teacher might spend the most time in the spotlight of the church.
The evangelist is gifted at drawing people to your church. He could be viewed as the “politician who works rooms”. He is the energetic and vibrant member of the leadership team. He overtly pushes the church to reach various parts of the community. He is unsatisfied with his role unless he has the freedom to mingle with the community. The evangelist and apostle function closely together and often drive the shepherd crazy.
There is certainly more to the function of PASTE in our local church. I want to challenge you to begin a conversation with our leadership team regarding their balance. Do they know their function? Do they know how to work together while honoring the other functions of the team?
Our churches need paste because our church should be the paste that holds the community together.